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Protein-Packed Creamy Spinach Pasta

  • Published on: 17 October, 2016
  • Last update: 07 August, 2017

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Oh pasta. You and I go way back – like the first time I tasted you in the form of “pastina” (a tiny Italian pasta fed to babies as their first food) and the boxes of Kraft mac’n’cheese I used to devour as a teen. Pasta is one of the most comforting foods in the world; many of us have family memories and positive emotions tied to it. Although it’s not a ‘health food’ that I’d recommend as a staple, I still eat it once in a while when the craving strikes.

Why? A) Because health is about balance. And B) As much as we like to analyze our diets and count every calorie or nutrient, the happiness you feel when eating matters more than hitting your macros. It’s imperative to relax and feel pleasure as you sit with your meal, or else your digestion won’t be up to par. You could be eating the cleanest meal in the world, yet if you’re stressed, your body will associate that food with your current stress response. This will compromise your digestive power at the moment, and make it harder to process that same food in the future. This is also why many cultures around the world say a prayer before their meal. Your words are powerful; when you speak an ode of gratitude before your meal, you can literally transform the energy of that food. Saying thank you after a meal is wonderful too. For more unusual tips on improving digestion, see my post here 🙂

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Aaaaaanyway, what was I saying? Oh yes. Pasta = happy. Happy = good digestion. Restricting your food choices in the quest for ‘perfect’ health = can cause stress. Stress = bad digestion.

BUT, making swaps/adjustments to that pasta with healthier ingredients more suitable to your lifestyle? = middle ground… ding ding!

That’s where my creamy spinach pasta comes in. It has all the richness, flavor, and #carbgoals your heart desires. And yet, it’s made with gluten free rice pasta and fat free organic greek yogurt instead of all the milk and cream that usually goes into a hearty creamed spinach. I know a lot of people say their gluten free pasta tastes like the real thing (don’t get me started on quinoa pasta – love the grain, hate the linguine), but this brand of rice pasta is the only one that’s ever had my friends fooled. Seriously, read the Amazon reviews. Possibly the best purchase I’ve made all year (although I don’t know if I should be admitting that about a pantry item? Haha! #thefoodloveisreal)

Not to mention that there’s some serious green action going on here. I made a deal with the pasta devil that if I was still going to include it in my diet, I would balance it out by filling half the bowl with greens. This stuff is so good that even your kids will eat it – yes, that’s a dare. Try this out on little Jimmy and come back to me. If he spits it out, I’ll give you a cookie (read: cookie recipe to make up for it). But your chances are slim! 😉

Now I know what you’re probably thinking. That cookie joke was only a little funny, if that, and I need this damn recipe already. So here’s the part where I stop rambling and give you the goods. Bon appetit!


SERVES: 5-6

PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOK TIME: ~20 minutes


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of BioNaturae Gluten-Free Pasta (or a bag of any pasta you like)
  • 1 5.3oz container of organic greek yogurt (I used BrownCow brand, you can use SoDelicious greek style coconut yogurt to make it vegan!)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon oat flour
  • 16 oz. spinach (comes out to either a few bags or the larger box size)
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • a dash of ground red pepper flakes
  • salt

DIRECTIONS:

  1. First things first, set your pot of pasta water to boil while you chop your garlic and onion. Obviously, when this boils, throw in your pasta and set a timer for when it’s done. This will all be happening in the background as you are cooking your spinach – I know you know how to cook pasta, just wanted to remind you to get this stuff done while the spinach magic happens!
  2. Finely chop your garlic. I use a full head because I’m garlic obsessed. You can cut it back to 3-4 cloves if you’re not in the garlic club yet. Chop your onion into small squares.
  3. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan on low medium.
  4. Add the chopped onion first, and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes).
  5. Throw in your chopped garlic next. Grind a dash of red pepper flakes on top. Continue sautéing for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the spinach in 3 batches. Cook the first batch until it wilts, and then add the next batch until all 3 batches are cooked.
  7. While spinach cooks, mix 1 tablespoon oat flour with the greek yogurt until smooth. This will thicken it to make a sauce. When the spinach has fully wilted, mix the thickened greek yogurt into the spinach. Cook for just 1 minute then turn the heat off. Season to taste with salt.
  8. By this time, your pasta should be just about done. Drain completely, and add the freshly cooked pasta to your spinach pan. Fold everything together until uniform and transfer to a serving bowl.
  9. Garnish with red pepper for a kick, or grated cheese for a classic Italian take (although it’s creamy enough to not need any!)

Voila, dinner is served. It’s even delicious reheated the next day and perfect for meal prep. It’s packed with protein thanks to the spinach and greek yogurt (and could have even more if you used a bean pasta!) Great for a #meatlessmonday or vegetarian diet.

Hope you love this recipe and I’ll see you guys soon!

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